Quality Control: The Benefits of Mockups in Construction

In construction, the client expects the project to be complete on time, within budget, and of a certain level of quality. If there are issues with the quality of work at the end of the project, there are going to be some difficult conversations between the owner and the contractor. The quality of work produced not matching up to the owner’s expectations can harm a contractor’s reputation and decrease the chances of future work. One way to be sure the quality of work produced aligns with the quality of work expected is to use mockups.

What Are Mockups?

Within a construction project, a mockup is a physical sample of specified materials that are built or assembled in accordance with the drawings. This mockup will represent the quality of installation of a portion of the finished construction project.

Mockups provide the entire team with a tangible and visual representation of the quality of work being produced and serve as a great method of quality control. The complete process, including review, can be very helpful in establishing and maintaining expectations throughout a project.

Mockups can be used for a variety of specifications including, but not limited to, flooring, brick, tile, painting, and decorative ceilings. Additionally, mockups can be completed on a larger scale like with exterior waterproofing or flashing detail. In these cases, the materials can also be tested. Lastly, mockups are especially useful when a project has multiple rooms that are exactly the same such as offices, multi-family living, hotels, or even lab space. One of the rooms can be built ahead of schedule so that all the details and finishes are reviewed and approved by the appropriate stakeholders.

Benefits to the Mockup Process

Assuring quality expectations are being met before getting too far into an installation or project by using mockups has several benefits including:

  • Avoiding costly mistakes and having to redo portions of a project
  • Remaining on schedule by avoiding repeat installations
  • Receiving quality confirmation from owner and design team (crucial during punch list and close out)
  • Confirming that the flow and functionality of a space feels appropriate to the end user
  • Contractors learning more about the physical install of the product through trial
  • Understanding the way installed materials interact with each other
  • Improving efficiency of installation process and collaboration between trades
  • Testing materials in real setting and reviewing light and location impacts

Reviewing a Mockup

It is important to do a thorough review of each mockup completed. This includes diligent note taking and recording feedback from stakeholders. Some items to note during the mockup process include:

  • Specification
  • Location on drawings
  • Description of product
    • Size, color, type, and material
  • General comments

Here is a sample matrix from a recently completed mockup:

SpecificationLocationDescriptionGrout ColorGL ThicknessGrout Line ThicknessType of JointGeneral Comment
BR Glass BrickBR-01Clear polished full brick
Size – Full brick, 3 5/8 x 2 1/4 x 7 5/8
G-5011/4″ – 3/8″3/8″3/8″ RackedGrout Mixture: Grout should be smooth, less grainy
BR Glass BrickBR-02Aqua Marine full brick
Size – Full brick, 3 5/8 x 2 1/4 x 7 5/8
G-602 1/4″ – 3/8″ 3/8″ 3/8″ Racked
BR Glass BrickBR-03Golden Amber Frosted full brick
Size – Full brick, 3 5/8 x 2 1/4 x 7 5/8
G-103 1/4″ – 3/8″ 3/8″ 3/8″ Racked
BR Glass BrickBR-04Smokey Quartz polished full brick
Size – Full brick, 3 5/8 x 2 1/4 x 7 5/8
G-101 1/4″ – 3/8″ 3/8″ 3/8″ Racked
BR Glass BrickBR-05Clear frosted full brick
Size – Full brick, 3 5/8 x 2 1/4 x 7 5/8
G-501 1/4″ – 3/8″ 3/8″ 3/8″ Racked

Sample Mockups

KMC Partners has completed multiple mockups on recent projects including a glass brick stairwell and a decorative wall showcasing several materials.

Brick Stairwell


Final Install

Decorative Display Wall


Final Install

External Examples

Sunrise Erectors Incorporated Mockup


Probuilder.com Mockup Assemblies


Completing a mockup promotes quality craftsmanship and leads to an effective result. Using proper mockup methodology can empower contractors to control quality, stay on schedule, and under budget. Learn more today about how KMC can improve your project through hands on, onsite strategies.